Healthy eating doesn’t have to be expensive: 10 tips to cut costs

Many people think that you should spend a lot of money to eat healthy food. However, this does not have to be the case.

Conversely, the cost of unhealthy junk food, fast food, and snacks can accumulate very quickly and become very expensive over time.

In my personal experience, I’ve also found that eating healthy can really save money in the long run, especially if you stick to a few basic principles when shopping, choosing and preparing your food.

Here are 14 simple tips that can help you save money while eating healthy.

Seasonal fruits and vegetables are often juicier, tasty, and more affordable than foods produced out of season.

This is because these seasonal ingredients are harvested at the peak of maturity and are virtually never transported, reducing the time it takes to get from farm to your grocery store shelf.

There are plenty of guides online detailing which fruits and vegetables are near you. You can also get a good idea of ​​what foods are in season by visiting your local farmers market to see what’s available.

Many grocery stores offer products in both generic and brand name varieties.

Choosing generic brands instead of brand name brands is a simple way to save money without compromising on quality.

Generic brand foods are usually comparable to brand versions in terms of safety, quality, and nutritional value.

However, it is always a good idea to compare the ingredient list and nutrition labels on your favorite branded products with those on the generic versions before you buy them.

Planning your meals in advance is a smart way to save time and money.

Try creating a weekly meal plan, crafting a shopping list, and setting aside a specific time to prepare your meals for the week ahead.

One of my favorite ways to plan meals is to find some recipes that use a similar set of ingredients to alternate between them during the week.

I like to focus on a few ingredients with a shorter shelf life, like fresh fruits and vegetables, and switch between different whole grains, legumes, spices, and seasonings for every meal.

This can help simplify your shopping list while adding lots of variety to your diet, as every day you enjoy ingredients in new and interesting ways.

Cooking your own food at home instead of eating out at restaurants or buying ready-made meals is one of the easiest and most effective ways to eat healthy food on a budget.

In fact, a single meal at a restaurant usually costs a lot more than buying the ingredients you need to prepare your food at home.

Plus, with additional fees like delivery fees, service fees, and tips, the cost of eating out or ordering takeout can add up quickly.

Preparing your food gives you complete control over what you put on your plate. This makes it easy to include more fresh, whole foods in your diet.

It also helps reduce the intake of added sugar, salt, and artificial ingredients.

Plant proteins such as beans, lentils, chickpeas, tofu and tempeh are often much cheaper than animal proteins such as meat, fish and poultry.

Plus, these foods are rich in protein, fiber, and a variety of other essential vitamins and minerals. It’s easy to incorporate into recipes like casseroles, soups, salads, and stir-fries.

Keep in mind that eating more plant-based proteins does not mean that you need to become a complete vegetarian or cut animal products from your diet entirely.

If you’re eating meat now and want to start eating more plant-based protein, consider switching plant-based proteins into your diet just a few times a week. This will help you save some money and reduce your meat consumption.

A flexible diet like this encourages eating mostly plant-based food but also allows you to eat animal foods here and there.

Most grocery stores offer weekly deals and discounts, which are usually announced online or distributed in circulars.

Checking if coupons are available for your favorite products before you go shopping is an excellent way to save some money.

You can also check out deals offered by online retailers, such as Thrive Market, Fresh Direct, or Amazon Fresh, which can come in handy if you have limited access to a traditional grocery store.

Personally, I like to store shelf-stable essentials whenever they’re on sale. They include rice, beans, spices, frozen foods, and canned vegetables.

If you’re having a hard time using all of the fresh fruits and vegetables before they start to spoil, consider getting some frozen produce. It is an excellent alternative.

Frozen fruits and vegetables offer the same valuable nutrients as fresh varieties but have a much longer shelf life to help you reduce food waste (1).

I like to keep plenty of frozen fruit on hand to add to smoothies or mix into yogurt and oatmeal. Frozen vegetables also make a great addition to French fries or can be baked, sautéed, or roasted for a simple side dish.

Many parts of meat and produce are usually discarded when cooking healthy meals at home.

However, there are plenty of fun and creative ways you can use up leftovers instead of just getting rid of them. This can help save you some extra money on grocery shopping.

Reserve the stems and stalks of vegetables to make soup broth, freeze leftover herbs, or cut stale bread into cubes and bake in the oven to make homemade toast.

Do you need more ideas? Check out this article for some other simple ways to use up leftovers.

Storing food properly can extend its shelf life, making your meals last longer to reduce food waste and reduce your shopping bill.

Try lining produce drawers with paper towels to absorb excess moisture and keep fruits and vegetables from spoiling.

You should also store shelf-stable ingredients, such as pasta, rice, and cereal, in an airtight container and place in a cool, dry place to maximize their shelf life.

Dairy products should also be kept in the main part of the refrigerator rather than the door, and raw meat or poultry should be frozen if you don’t plan to use it within a few days.

For example, experts advise keeping fresh poultry or ground meat in the refrigerator at 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius) or less for no more than two days. Make sure to separate raw meat from other foods (2).

You can buy some foods in bulk at a lower price, making it easier for you to eat healthy food on a budget.

Shelf-stable options such as dried grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes are especially great foods to stock and buy in bulk.

Make sure to stay away from buying foods in bulk that have a shorter shelf life, including:

  • fresh products
  • Ready Meals
  • egg
  • meat
  • Dairy products

Fresh herbs are perfect for enhancing the flavor of your favorite healthy meals at home, but they can also be pricey.

Fortunately, growing your own herbs at home can be an easy, fun, and money-saving hobby.

It’s also very handy, even if you don’t have a green thumb – all you need is some soil, seeds, and a sunny area by your window or in your yard. There are plenty of indoor gardening possibilities to consider.

If you’re like me and live in an apartment with limited sunlight, consider trying an indoor water park. It is equipped with LED lights for a foolproof way to grow herbs at home.

Incorporating money-saving habits into your grocery shopping routine is a great way to cut costs while eating healthy.

  • Write a list ahead of time. To get started, write down what you need before you head to the store. When you’re there, stick to the items on your list.
  • Shop around the grocery store. This can make it easier to skip some items like processed foods and snacks, which are usually more expensive and less nutritious.
  • Shop when you are calm, on a full stomach. You should also avoid going to the store when you are hungry or stressed, as it can fuel food cravings and lead to unhealthy shopping choices.

Instead of throwing away leftovers, try saving them for a simple meal the next day.

Not only can this save you some time, but bringing leftovers to work or school instead of buying lunch can also help save money.

I like to double my portion sizes when cooking dinner and then store half of it for lunch the next day.

Many online grocery services have popped up in recent years, delivering discounted food products right to your door.

Some services, such as Imperfect Foods or Misfits Market, offer products with minor cosmetic imperfections at a lower price.

In addition to helping you add more fruits and vegetables to your diet, these services can help you save money and make it easier to stick to your meal plan if you only buy what you need.

This can also be a useful option if you don’t live near a grocery store or have limited access to fresh food in your community.

Although many people think that healthy eating can be expensive, this is not necessarily true.

In fact, eating an overall healthy diet can save you money in the long run.

Try practicing some of the tips above, which can make eating healthy easier than ever before without breaking the bank.

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